Westmoreland County will mark ‘Dick Groat Day’
Dick Groat spent 40 years as part of the broadcast team calling University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball games. But the 2018-19 season was his last with good friend and broadcast partner Bill Hillgrove.
Though the 88-year-old was disappointed when the university decided to part ways with him, he still loves the school, especially the athletes.
“The University of Pittsburgh has been good to me,” Groat told the Tribune-Review.
So Groat’s friends in Westmoreland County decided to honor him Friday.
Dr. Chris Luccy and his wife, Barbara, the Westmoreland County commissioners and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg will celebrate “Dick Groat Day” at Totteridge Golf Club in Hempfield.
A nine-hole golf scramble will honor Groat and two late club members, Rusty Lauffer and Dr. Tom Qualey.
Lauffer played golf in all 50 states before he was 50, according to his obituary. Qualey played football at Pitt and is in the WPIAL Hall of Fame for football and baseball.
After golf, a ceremony will be held and a proclamation read declaring Oct. 18 as “Dick Groat Day.”
Groat, who was born in Wilkinsburg, was a two-sport star at Duke University. He was twice selected as a basketball All-American and was named the 1952 national player of the year. He helped lead the Blue Devils to an appearance in the College World Series in baseball.
Groat was the first person to be inducted into both the college basketball and college baseball halls of fame.
He played briefly in the NBA for the Fort Wayne Pistons.
Groat, however, made his mark as a professional athlete in baseball.
He was the National League MVP and helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1960 World Series. He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals, which he helped win the 1964 World Series.
In recent years, Groat and former Pirates player Jerry Lynch owned Championship Lakes Golf Course in the Ligonier Valley.
“Dick has been a tremendous supporter of Pitt and the students at the university,” Luccy said. “Young people might not know him well, but he’s an athlete you’d want your son or daughter to emulate.”
“This honor has been a long time coming. We want to give everyone … a wakeup call for what Dick has done for the county.”
Pitt-Greensburg President Robert Gregerson will speak about Groat and what the university offers.
After the ceremony, there will be a tailgate party and a big screen set up to watch the Pitt at Syracuse football game.
Those interested in attending the event at 2029 Totteridge Drive can register at 724-837-6700, Ext. 1.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .